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November 17, 2017

Magnificently detailed 1500 BCE Bronze Age sealstone is just 1.4 inches wide

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From Atlas Obscura:

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In spring 2016, a team of archeologists from the University of Cincinnati was digging at a Mycenaean site in the Pylos region of Greece when they made a surprising discovery: the intact tomb of a Bronze Age warrior dating to about 1500 B.C.

The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports declared the find the "most important to have been discovered in 65 years."

Now, almost two years later, the tomb has revealed its most valuable secret: intricately carved sealstone that researchers are calling "one of the finest works of prehistoric Greek art ever discovered."

It didn't look so at first, but once a thick crust of limestone (below)

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was cleared off it revealed a detailed scene of a victorious warrior, one defeated opponent beneath his feet and another falling at the tip of his sword.

And all this was carved in meticulous detail on a piece of stone just over 1.4 inches long.

The dig's co-leaders, married team Shari Stocker and Jack Davis of the University of Cincinnati, were surprised by the detailed engravings, including intricate weaponry ornamentation and jewelry decoration.

Such work has never been seen before in art from the Aegean Bronze Age.

"What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature (below, highlighted in red)

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that one doesn't find again until the classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later," Davis explained in a release. "It's a spectacular find."

Indeed. many of the details in the "Pylos Combat Agate," as it has been dubbed for the type of rock it is carved on, become clear only when viewed with photomicroscopy, which has left the researchers wondering about the technique behind it.

"Some of the details on this are only a half-millimeter big," said Davis. "They're incomprehensibly small."

The "Griffin Warrior," who was buried in the tomb and gets his name from an adorned ivory plaque buried with him, probably died around the time when the militaristic and austere Mycenaean culture, based in mainland Greece, conquered the culturally sophisticated Minoans, based on the large island of Crete, just south of Pylos.

But much of what was found in the tomb appears to be of Minoan fabrication, which suggests greater and more complex cultural interchange between the civilizations than was previously known.

Stocker and Davis will present their findings in a paper to be published later this month in the journal Hesperia.

According to Stocker, "This seal should be included in all forthcoming art history texts, and will change the way that prehistoric art is viewed." 

November 17, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Earth 1997-2017

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From CBS News:

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Our most complete picture of life on Earth is coming into focus, as a stunning new NASA time-lapse video crams 20 years into just a few minutes.

It is helping scientists learn a lot more about global warming and how the earth is changing.

"It's one of a kind. It's never been done before and so being able to capture land, ocean, atmosphere, ice, over 20 years together — it's insanely cool," NASA oceanographer Dr. Jeremy Werdell told CBS News correspondent Chip Reid.

In 1997 NASA launched the satellite which recorded the images, allowing them to track life on earth through the subsequent 20 years. 
 
"Bottom line, what are you seeing, the planet getting warmer over these 20 years?" Reid asked. 

"Absolutely," Werdell said. He said the data points help show how our planet is changing.
 
"Generally speaking, ocean levels are rising. Now they rise slowly, it's like watching ice cubes melt in a glass of soda," Werdell said.

What's causing the changes in color in the map are umpteen microscopic creatures called phytoplankton.

It's complicated, but one way to think about all this is that by keeping track of the phytoplankton in the oceans, scientists have an early warning system on what's happening to the earth as it heats up.

November 17, 2017 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Retro Canon IV SB Rangefinder Camera 8GB Flash Drive

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Finally.

From The Verge:

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Canon may be the leader in DSLRs, but it's dearly behind Sony and Fuji when it comes to small, portable, and exciting mirrorless cameras.

For years, all we've wanted is for Canon to mine its heritage for a cool, retro design and offer a compact alternative to its immense DSLRs.

It seems the day has finally come — just not quite how we wanted it: Canon is now selling a wonderful throwback rangefinder with 8GB of internal storage — it just happens to be a flash drive.

We caught the new drive via PetaPixel, which points out that Canon has done this in the past with drives based on the 5D as well.

It also saw a note in Canon's Australian store with an important clarification on how this product works: "Please note, this is not a functioning rangefinder."

Canon describes the drive as a "camera-inspired USB device" that "honors the Canon IV SB rangefinder camera."

The Australian store also says that it's a limited edition.

That's good, because it would be tragic if too many people bought this thing at its current price.

Canon is selling it for $79.99, for which money you could buy a lot more flash drives and a lot more storage.

Also, you're going to lose it.

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From Canon:

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Save important photos and documents easily — and in style — with our camera-inspired USB device.

This exclusive replica model honors the Canon IV SB rangefinder camera, featuring a removable miniature lens USB flash drive that holds up to 8 GB.

Simply plug it into your Mac or PC to keep your items safe and secure.

• Exclusive to the Canon Online Store

• Metal and plastic materials

• 2.8" x 1.4" x 1.4"

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$79.99 USD.

Wait a sec... what's that music I'm hearing?

November 17, 2017 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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